The garbage can was tin. That coppery color tin, about 12 inches high. It was my sister’s. David Cassidy or Three Dog Night was featured on it. The house was the Prospect House. Green stucco was the style. The drink was sloe gin, with orange juice and southern comfort. It was called a sloe comfortable screw. Nice word play. Nice drink for a 17 year old. The party was out of town on Bad River Road. That’s in Fort Pierre, for those of you who don’t know. A friend of ours had moved out there and they had a pool. It was a long way out there. I barely remember it. In fact I don’t think anyone was there when we arrived or very few people. Not even sure if the house owner’s kid, the party host, was there. This was one of the few times I got REALLY drunk. I was around drinking all the time, but I didn’t drink all the time. My sister turned me on to this drink. I was 17, I thought I was cool and the name was catchy. At this point in my life, I didn’t drink that much. I thought it was overrated. I drank enough at 16. But I did it anyway. I remember after this, I rarely got “drunk.” I may have drank, but rarely got even a little drunk.
The road was gravel. The car was Mary’s. The brown Toyota with the narrow stripes along the side, orange and yellow maybe white too. After we left the party house and were on our way back to town, she had to pull over so I could throw up. Everything was red. Everything was orange acid. Everything was whiskey. It was disgusting. I can remember being behind the car throwing up. But, drinking was cool, right? We were lucky the storm wasn’t perfect and disaster didn’t happen.
———This past Sunday night as I was getting rid of the garbage in the upstairs bathroom, the tin garbage can made that kind of weird noise like stainless steel bowls when one is tapped by something. The never-ending rattle was the garbage can. The unevenness of the garbage can. That noise. The kind that won’t stop unless you grab it to make it stop. The garbage can triggered the memory of the tin garbage can.
The time of year was late fall or early winter. I remember it being pretty cold outside. The bedroom was hot and I was miserable as hell. I don’t know what time Mary dropped me off. It had to be late. Or it had to be early. However your reference of time works. Late night/early morning, you know what I mean. I remember puking in that garbage can numerous times. Red sloe gin, acid orange juice and southern comfort whiskey, and then that fun part when you think you have to puke, but nothing comes up. You know that great ab exercise called dry heaves. Anything but comfortable. I’m not sure if there was even a bag in the can to line it. I can still smell it. I can still remember it. I can still remember how awful and hungover I felt. I hated that feeling. I hated not being in control.
One of Three Dog Night’s most popular songs was Joy To The World. Hmmm, that night was anything but joy and I’m sure the world didn’t care about me. There was no joy in my world that night.
I googled some of the drinks made with sloe gin. I’m super happy that I wasn’t drinking the Panty Dropper, or the Tie Me To The Bedpost Baby, but in that situation I think my signature drink should have been the Slow Painful Movement, which is sloe gin, beer and chocolate syrup. Now that makes me want to throw up!
—It’s funny how at that age we thought we were so cool. In reality we were so damn dumb. So many things could have gone wrong. So many things should have gone wrong. But they didn’t. We made it through the wonder years without getting in trouble. We made it through the wonder years without hurting anyone or ourselves. We made it through.
The garbage can was tin…